After only seven first-class matches for Victoria, and thanks to taking 3-14 and 4-42 for Australia A to end 1991, a chain-smoking, mullet-wielding, Victorian leg spinner named Shane Keith Warne, once described as a “Little fat turd” while bowling for St Kilda in district cricket, was picked to make his debut for Australia against India in the 3rd Test at the SCG, in place of Peter Taylor.
After making 20 batting at No.10 in the 1st Innings with Australia bowled out for 313 after being sent in to bat, Warnie’s debut turned inauspicious when Ravi Shastri, followed by an 18-year-old Sachin Tendulkar (148 not out), started carting the young leggie to all parts of the SCG as India powered their way to 483 and a lead of 170.
As history tells us, Warnie finished with the fabled figures of 1/150 off 45 overs, with the first of his 708 Test wickets coming on Day 4 when Shastri was caught by Dean Jones on 206, which went down in history as the first double century by an Indian batsman in Australia.
One thing that does get forgotten is that Warnie couldn’t quite hang on to a low attempt at a caught & bowled when Shastri was in the 60s…. Painful mistake.
Ultimately, Australia held on for a draw after being whittled down to 8/173 on the final day thanks to Shastri’s 4 wickets, which was the closest India came to winning their first Test in Australia since Melbourne 1981, a drought that lasted until they won the 2003 Adelaide Test.
As for Warne, he went wicketless in the epic 4th Test in Adelaide, was dropped for the 5th Test at the WACA, and was never heard from again…
Until Australia went to Sri Lanka in August of that year.
Here’s a coincidence: Warnie’s 145th and final Test for Australia against England (In 2007) also began on January 2.
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